Re-Post: Breaking News!
…That’s not quite so breaking. As of Tuesday morning, the public workers strike has officially been suspended. The unions did not accept the government’s offer but have instead agreed to a 21-day hiatus so that children can get back to school while negotiations continue. If you ask me, it’s political posturing so that no one side has to admit a concession; I’m of the opinion that politics is politics in any language. That said, the possibility of the strike resuming in three weeks is possible, if not exactly plausible. For now, though, the strike is over and – so – we can all get on with it.
“It” happens to include a Goodbye and Thank You Braai for our host families on Saturday with the strong possibility of swearing in as official Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) on Monday. And arrival at our permanent site within the week. Lots and lots going on. And, as usual, nothing’s definite so everything’s that much more exciting.
What else… the siSwati speakers took their final exam on Tuesday. The Language Proficiency exam is a 30-minute oral interview with a native speaker of our target language that is not a member of the current training staff. Without delving into more hyperbolic exclamations, I would say it was…difficult. Our examiner hailed from Nelspruit and so had a different accent than our siSwati teacher, spoke much more quickly, and used unknown synonyms for much of the vocab I did know. I stumbled and bumbled through it though and, while I don’t know my final grade, from the structure of the test I know that I passed the minimum needed to swear in next week. Hallelujah!
So count ‘em up: Strike Over. LPI over. Goodbyes on Saturday. Swearing in Monday – potentially. At site in a week. The ball gains some momentum.
Last but not least, I’ve finally got a South African cell phone! The number, in country, is 0714440289. Dialing from the US, it’d be 01127714440289. It’s pay-as-you-go here and airtime is expensive, but incoming calls are free. So hit me up! Rumor has it US skype to SA cell calls run about .05/minute – pennies! Plus you can use gmail and certain other email programs to send international texts like you would an email (more on that later). I’m six hours ahead of EST, but please call/text whenever the urge arises. I miss you guys!